Mental health professional and student support officer at every NSW high school.

The Nationals in Government will provide every NSW public high school in Regional NSW with two dedicated mental health experts and access to a team of specialist psychologists.

The most important challenge facing regional NSW is ensuring our young people are provided with the opportunities they deserve.

Schools play a critical role in getting support to young people sooner.

The Nationals in Government will employ 100 additional school counsellors or psychologists, and an additional 350 student support officers to ensure every NSW public high school has access to these vital support services.

This $88.4 million boost to mental health programs in schools will also provide a team of specialist psychologists to provide students in remote and regional schools, including primary and central schools, face-to-face support, online and telepsychology services.

By ensuring there is both a student support officer and a mental health professional at every public high school, we are making it easier for students to access the help they need.

The student support officer has proven to be an approachable access point for students who might be experiencing bullying, stress or other issues they may face.

If there are more serious concerns, these can then be escalated to the full-time onsite counsellor or psychologist.

As part of this strategy, we will also partner with specialist mental health organisations to develop training courses so teachers can better identify students who may be struggling, and provide innovative programs for students, teachers and parents with a focus on reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and encouraging students to seek help when needed.

Since 2011, the Nationals in Government have increased funding for student wellbeing by more than $200 million, with an additional 236 full time school counselling positions funded over the past three years, bringing the total full-time counselling positions to 1081 across the State.

The Nationals in Government will:

• Ensure that every public high school will have at least one full time school counsellor or psychologist on site.
• Implement a team of specialist psychologists for rural and remote students.
• Deliver student support officer onsite at every public high school by hiring an additional 350 full time officers.
• Improve teacher training to identify mental health risks and refer students to specialised assistance as required.
• Partner with specialist mental health providers to support schools, students and parents in stigma reduction and encourage students to speak up and access the help they need.